Back To Top

Presidential chief of staff sues commentator for calling him ‘commie’

Presidential chief of staff Im Jong-seok sued a right-wing commentator for calling him “jusapa,” a term for proponents of North Korea’s founding ideology of “juche,” or self-reliance.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said Thursday that it recently summoned and questioned columnist Jee Man-won on why he referred to Im as a “diehard jusapa” and “vicious commie” on his website.

Prosecutors plan to decide on whether to indict Jee after finding out if he intended to slander Im.

Jee Man-won (Yonhap)
Jee Man-won (Yonhap)

Im headed the National Council of Student Representatives, or “Jeondaehyup,” in 1989 when he was the student president of Hanyang University. Jeondaehyup existed from 1987 to 1993, and was succeeded by the Korean Federation of Student Councils, which was later designated by the court as an organization benefiting the enemy -- North Korea. The court never declared Jeondaehyup as an enemy-benefiting group.

Nevertheless, Jee said Im was a jusapa, citing investigation records of the National Security Planning Agency, which later became the National Intelligence Service, that said Jeondaehyup was controlled by jusapa.

After being sued by Im, Jee said he would file a complaint with the prosecution against Im and presidential secretary Shin Dong-ho for violation of the National Security Act, accusing them of sending some 2 billion won ($1.86 million) to North Korea through the Foundation of Inter-Korea Cooperation, which Im headed from 2005 through last year.

Jee was indicted in 2007 and ordered to pay a fine of 3 million won on charges of false accusation for calling Shin Ji-ho, head of a right-wing group, a jusapa.

By Kim So-hyun (